Wildlife conservation is about promoting humanity's better instincts to peacefully and sustainably share the planet with its myriad of other inhabitants. But as greed-driven poachers continue to slaughter protected animals by the thousands, one prominent environmental official in Africa is suggesting illegal hunters be dealt with just as they would their intended targets.
Last week, while speaking at a conference on protecting elephants, Tanzanian Minister for Natural Resources and Tourism, Khamis Kagasheki, called for harsher consequences for people caught poaching them -- suggesting that they should be shot outright.
"I am very aware that some alleged human rights activists will make an uproar, claiming that poachers have as much rights to be tried in courts as the next person," he said, as reported by the Tanzania Daily News. "But let's face it, poachers not only kill wildlife but also usually never hesitate to shoot dead any innocent person standing in their way."
He went on to add that "the only way to solve this problem is to execute the killers on the spot."
If Minister Kagasheki's suggestion sounds rooted in desperation, it might be because the situation is indeed dire. Last year alone, some 30 thousand elephants were killed for their valuable tusks -- and another dies in a similar fashion at a rate of one every fifteen minutes. Conservationists estimate the species could be driven to extinction within 12 years if current trends continue.